Newsletter #533

No game and consequently a relatively thin issue today. Firstly, I’d like to say thanks to Matt Rayner for doing such a good job in my absence, especially as he was plunged in with a three-week stint! It’s always good to get a break and return refreshed, even if it does mean missing a 6-0er, and additionally, it lets someone experience the ups and downs of the editing job. The time off has also been used to network my old Mac to the iMac (courtesy of Linda [my wife]); this was not without some tribulations, mainly due to the iMac having updated to USB ports. So, this issue is the first from the iMac – if anyone notices any differences (for the worse), please email me and I’ll have a play with the settings, particular the line length.

This issue contains the usual news summary, some opinion, requests and a good Why Blue – more needed.

This one reaches 2,689.

P.S. Kennedy scored another stunning goal against Yugoslavia at the weekend, and certainly seems to be on song at the moment.

Next game: Crystal Palace at home, Saturday 11th September 1999


Brum Draw Puts City Third

City dropped to third place in Division One on Sunday when Birmingham City drew 3-3 away to Bolton Wanderers. The midlanders had previously been behind the Blues on goal difference, but the point from their clash at the Reebok Stadium takes them ahead of Joe Royle’s side having played a game more. Birmingham led 3-1 at the interval, and it took a last-minute penalty from Bolton’s Dean Holdsworth to deny Trevor Francis’s team all three points.

Weaver to Keep Under-21 Place

After making his England under-21 bow in last Friday’s 5-0 win over Luxembourg, City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver will retain his place for Tuesday’s trip to Poland. Richard Wright has previously stood between Weaver and an international place, but the Ipwich goalkeeper has been drafted into the senior squad to give him experience of being with the senior side. Weaver couldn’t have had an easier début against a woeful Luxembourg side, but the Poles on their own turf are likely to be a tougher proposition.

Weaver and Whitley the Stars So Far

Carling Opta’s new statistics-based performance system for the whole of the Premier and Nationwide Leagues is designed to prove which players are most effective. Teams of researchers study tapes of all games and award or deduct points for every touch of the ball by every player. And while the suspicion is that Mark Kennedy would win a “man of the first month of the season” poll, he isn’t one of the two City players in Division One’s top three in their position. Nicky Weaver has the second highest points tally among goalkeepers, behind Stockport’s Carlo Nash, while Jeff Whitley is rated third-best midfielder after West Brom’s Enzo Moresco and Huddersfield’s Kenny Irons.

Royle Rules Out Move for Gunnlaugsson

Despite City reportedly being offered first refusal on Icelandic striker Bjarki Gunnlaugsson, the Blues have opted not to take their interest in the player any further. Manager Joe Royle explained, “We had a look at the lad in action and though I am told that as a kid he was even more promising than [his twin brother, Leicester striker] Arnar, we have decided he’s not for us.”

Search Goes On as Brazilian is Linked

The decision not to pursue interest in Gunnlaugsson doesn’t mean the City manager has abandoned hopes of strengthening his squad. Royle confirmed he’s “always on the look out for new talent”, with Sheffield United striker Marcelo the latest name to be mentioned by the tabloids. The 29-year-old Brazilian is out of contract at the end of the season, hence the Blades’ willingness to listen to offers now. The player is also a reported target for Watford and Portuguese clubs Porto and Boavista, though City moved on Monday to distance themselves from the reports.

Russell Scores on Darlo Début

Out-of-favour striker Craig Russell has moved to his native north-east on a month’s loan, joining Division Three promotion favourites Darlington. The ex-Sunderland player could reportedly make the transfer permanent if things go well for him at Feethams, and he certainly started in promising fashion – Russell grabbed a late winner in a top-of-the-table clash against Exeter.

Academy Sides Both Notch Fisrt Win

City’s Academy sides at the weekend each followed the example of the reserves three days earlier, managing a convincing win after a disappointing start. The under-19s beat Huddersfield 6-2 at home while the under-17s had a 5-2 success on their visit to Barnsley.

Other News in Brief

Despite being injured playing for Northern Ireland under-21s, Jeff Whitley is expected to be fit for the weekend game with Crystal Palace… Danny Granville could play in the reserves at West Brom on Wedsnesday with a view to his taking part in the Palace match… There’s speculation that, once an anticipated takeover or management buy-out of Greenalls is completed, the ailing Warrington-based company could be set to dispose of its 7.7% stake in City.

Peter Brophy (


.. from a devoted yet very busy fan.

I must confess (gasp) that from time to time I do not even get to watch T.V./ go to the Web/ read the Sunday papers/ read teletext (Sky’s one is so confusing methinks)/ or even catch Sky on the weekends. It’s the joy of having two little boys (had two little toys) and a crushing workload (hope my boss is on this distribution. I bet I am not alone there amongst our married readers out there. So this e-mail is often the first news I get on MCFC.

To that end would it be possible to put the excellent news summary at the top of the newsletter and the comments afterwards? I love the whole newsletter and sometimes I read and devour every word but this organization would be great for when the above situation kicks in…

CTID, Kieran Daly – A former editor :-)) from Cork! (

The current format of MCIVTA has almost evolved without much conscious effort on my part. The only reason I can think of that match reports come first, is because they were the one thing I valued most when I was living in exile. We did discuss match reports several years back, and it was fairly clear that a number of people were quite keen not to know the score before reading the match report. However, it must be said that at that time, the news articles were submitted piecemeal and were inevitably very disjointed; editorially it would have been messy to start the newsletter with them. Of course, nowadays we all benefit from Peter’s excellent efforts. What do people think? I’ll amend the way we do things accordingly.



I spent 2 days trying to get through to the Ticket Office to buy tickets for the Nottingham Forest game. When I finally got through, the recorded message informed me that “You are now being held in position 12”. 3 minutes later “You are now being held in position 11”. After 30 minutes, “You are now being held in position 1”. After 36 minutes, I finally spoke to a human being. There has got to be a better system, to serve the demands of loyal supporters/customers. It’s not fair on those people who may not have the opportunity to go down to the ground to buy tickets during a working day, or who cannot spend 36 minutes at work on a personal call.

Anyway that night in bed I informed my wife “You are now being held in position 69”. Unfortunately, the whole experience did not last as long as trying to get through to the Ticket Office.

City ’til I finally can’t get through, Howard Gruber (


Phil’s story made me smile, My friend (Alan Hargreaves) and I both had season tickets but didn’t apply early enough to get tickets for that match. No problem, Our friends had 2 tickets lined up – had to meet the guy outside the old souvenir shop at the Swamp on the day to pick them up. Bought the tickets at face value only to see they were for the Stretford end seats! Fortunately, we weren’t scarfed up so we took off our lapel badges and mingled with the daytrippers into the stand.

Now, my mate Alan decided (aAgainst my better judgement) to start up a conversation with the Reds around us. But due to their limited intelligence they didn’t notice he was taking the p***. Comments from Alan like “Hughesy is a dirty bastard isn’t he?” and “United are playing crap today” were met with nods of agreement. David White missed some early chances at our end and Alan came out with “City are all over United, they should be 2 up…” etc. all met with agreement from the gloryhunters. They went 1 up and like Phil we noticed how many stayed glued in their seats – could there really be other Blues around us? The Reds around us now knew we were Blues but as they were winning didn’t seem to mind too much. We decided we’d better keep quiet which we did until Brightwell scored the goal of his life – a 25 yard left foot volley into the Scoreboard End net. We jumped out of our seats, as did a lad and his girlfriend immediately in front of us and many more in the seats. Our cover well and truly blown we thought we’d either be ejected or set upon. Neither happened, just some very uncomfortable stares and finger pointing. The game finished so we jumped out of the seated section into the terraces below and Alan continued his p*** taking to any Red within earshot. We got back to Prestwich met up with our fellow Blues over a few pints of Holts’s – they couldn’t believe we hadn’t bean beaten to a pulp.

Allan Wain (


I would be interested to know what readers think is the main reason behind the continuing rise of City’s attendances over the last few years.

  1. Stadium upgrades.
  2. Everytime we face adversity the desire to be seen to be a Blue grows stronger.
  3. The better the Rags do the more we want to prove we will stand by our team.

My belief is 2 and 3 are are inextricably linked.

If we had remained a Premiership side, and were a mediocre one (which is obviously still a higher status than we are) I reckon we would have lower attendances than the magnificent ones we see.

I’ve forgotten my point. Oh yes! It is that Manchester City fans have not only proven that they are the most loyal fans in football, but that the worse the scenario the more they are willing to stand up and be counted.

Being a not very attending Blue these days, I applaud all of you that can, and do, get to games.

Shaun, in his Why Blue, wrote of how proud he is to wear his shirt around his Hampshire village. Being an exiled Blue in the same area reminded me of how proud I am to wear my shirt and so state “This is love, not a fad”. You should all be proud. And I know you are.

Yes we’ll moan when we do badly but we’ll always be there (whether in body or spirit).

The team are on a run and can you imagine the difference to the players when they see a packed ground when they are doing well, compared to when they see a packed ground when they are doing badly. It’s a double edged sword. Excitement vs. Fear. Hopefully we can keep the run going. But one thing is for sure. The support will be there so it is up to the players to enjoy rather than fear.

I have never known a better time to be Blue. Yes I’m old enough to remember the Championship, F.A. Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup etc. But this wave of hope beats those memories. I think it is because of the gulf I know we still have to cross and the depths we had gone to, but believing we have the management team, from the very top downwards, to do it.

From a Blue who’s far too emotional.

David Kilroy (


My friend has just returned from Iceland where he lives and commented on the Icelandic striker that we are interested in. I am not going to spell his name but he is the brother of the player at Leicester. My friend said that he is not an out an out striker. He is either one to play off the front man or to play on the right. He did say that he was a good player and that what they were saying in Iceland was that he will be coming at the end of their season in Iceland, end of September, early October. One point of concern, in the past he has been injured a lot! Can I come back to going after Efan Ekoku on loan until the end of the season? He is a good striker and would provide competition to Goater and Taylor. After all look at Forest, they have shown the way by getting Ian Wright. We need another striker even though Andy Morrison reckons Goater is the best in the League?!

Graham Lord (


There will be a mini TG for the Ipswich game in Tel-Aviv. The game will be shown on a giant screen at the “Wrigley Sports bar/restaurant” at 114 Hayarkon St. Tel-Aviv. We will be officially openning the Israeli chapter of the International Supporters’ Club. I’m trying to get an idea of the number of Blues in the Holy Land, right now there will be around 10-15 that we know of in attendance. It should be an awesome atmosphere, and a great night out. If anyone will be in Israel or the Middle East, they will be most welcome for the game. Right now we are trying to arrange for David Bernstein to make it to officially open this branch of the International Supporters’ Club in Israel. If any one is in the area on the 26th, please get in touch.

CTID, Benny Blue – Benjamin Bloom (


If you could ask if anyone is going to the Norwich game from London and could give me and my girlfriend a lift we will pay the petrol money.

Paul Green (


I have been living in exile here in Scotland since 1978 along with my fond memories of Bell, Lee, Summerbee, Doyle, Booth, Clements, Marsh etc. I have watched from afar as my beloved team has nosedived to the brink of oblivion and had to suffer the merciless derision of Celtic fans (I support Rangers of course). How great to see City at last making a comeback to the sort of team we knew and loved even if they are light years away from the teams containing the above named hall of fame. I was wondering if there were any other City fans living in the Glasgow area who are in a similar situation to myself or just fans of our great club, I would be interested to hear from them and possibly even start up a Glasgow branch of the City Supporters’ Club.

Steve Oatway (


Does anyone who lives near International Drive in Orlando know where I can get to see the Ipswich game which is live on Sky? Also are there any watering holes where I can get a beer and meet a few Atlantic Blues, if so can you email me.

Derrick Bradshaw (


If anyone has any spare tickets for the Waslsall game, I would be happy and very grateful to take them off your hands. Ideally I would like two tickets for the City end but would settle for anything at all, i.e. one ticket in the Walsall end. If somebody out there does have a spare they can email me on the address below.

John Wilson (


Regular readers of MCIVTA last season might recall the debate over the good burghers of Lincoln which began with one of Tony Burns’ tongue in cheek match reports. Although I didn’t do it at the time, I have to confess that I was born there, although I didn’t know much about the place as fortunately my dad’s job changed when I was only three months old and I was smuggled away to Bramhall in Cheshire. He was an accountant at the time and moved to Tom Garner Motors in Manchester, which I think in those days was a Roots or a Chrysler car dealership, and so my odyssey began!

Little did I know I know it but only five years later I would attend my first City match (or at least I think I did). I have programmes from 1977 and 1978, so it must have been around this time that my dad took me along, although I don’t know exactly which game was my first. We had season tickets in the Main Stand and my most striking memory of my early years was not of a particular game, but of the man who always sat behind us and slagged off Mick Channon for the whole of the match, whether he was good or bad. My dad still mentions him to this day every time we reminisce. He’s probably still there, but shouting at Edghill or Goater these days.

A game I remember most from those days was when my aunt and uncle came up to visit us and we went to watch City play. I think it was against Chelsea or Derby and I remember that we either won or lost about 6-0. My uncle and aunt (both from Gillingham and both present at Wembley in May!) had driven up from Kent to visit us in their old Skoda, which my uncle used to delight in driving at literally four miles an hour so it took them about three days to reach us.

It was a strange twist of fate that we should go to Maine Road at all as my father is in fact a ManU supporter, although he is originally from Gillingham so he has dual allegiance. I asked him only a couple of years ago why he took me to Maine Road rather than OT, assuming that it was something to do with getting free tickets from his work, but he claimed that we only went to Maine Road because he couldn’t get tickets for Old Trafford! Thank God or my life could have been much much worse. The fact that it took him more than 18 years to tell me this obviously showed he was embarrased about it.

My brother was born in Bramhall and began to support City like me. Alas, when he reached a certain age (and when City were poor to say the best) he decided to stake his future footballing loyalty on whether or not City got relegated that season. Needless to say we did and he went over to support United. I still can’t quite understand this thought process, but I guess this was why the word ‘gloryhunter’ was created. I think he still feels a bit embarrassed about it when I bring it up, but I still have the eternal consolation whenever he goes on about ‘his’ team of being in possession of a photo of him in his full City strip at a young age. I suppose it’s a bit like Beckham or Giggs before they switched to the ‘dark side’.

Schooldays in Bramhall at Moss Hey School were shortlived alas, and we moved again but to Stratford Upon Avon this time when I was eight. Schoolyard chatter changed from City or United to alien teams like Villa, although my best friend at the time was an Arsenal supporter. I was a Junior Blue, so I was able to keep in touch with that side of the club, but visits to games were sadly few and far between. Secondary school was an improvement (best friends now Coventry and Forest fans) and from there on I got to see a few more games. The most memorable from this period though was travelling to Highfield Road with one of my mates on Boxing Day to see City play. The kick off was 12.30, we had no idea if there was any public transport running and it was absolutely freezing cold. (Manchester) City went 2-0 down, only for Steve Redmond to hit the net twice (a bizarre feat indeed for him) and it ended up a 2-2 draw. On another occasion I went to Villa Park with a Villa fan not even realising that we would end up in the Holte End. I had brought my City scarf and spent the whole 90 minutes terrified that it would fall out of my pocket and I would be set upon by Villa fans.

I chose Strathclyde in Glasgow for university and did a marketing course there. I spent this time trying to convert friends to the City cause and was quite successful, somehow persuading two Scots to accompany me to the FA Cup 3rd round tie at Port Vale. It was once again a freezing cold day, we had stayed at my mum’s house in Stratford, but had the prospect of a drive to Glasgow in my Mini following the match. I felt like death warmed up with the flu and wasn’t looking forward to the Blues possibly getting humbled by Port Vale. Niall Quinn got the first goal and then ex-Blue Darren Beckford hit a scorcher from the edge of the box to equalise. But what made the day worthwhile was to see Clive Allen come on and head the winner with his very first touch of the game from a corner. Top goal and a truly memorable day! Unfortunately, I also travelled down from Glasgow for the fourth round tie against Notts County. We lost one-nil and I can still recall Quinny shaving the crossbar in injury time with a header. No goal and a truly miserable day.

My Glasgow ‘period’ came to an end when I got a job near Windsor and I had to up sticks again and move down there. I had the fact that I was a Man City fan on my CV and my Bolton-supporting employer told me that this was a good thing as he would never have employed a United fan! The job meant that at least I had some more money and could now afford to go to games more often. City away games were more regular than home ones, and I always seemed to think that having travelled a ridiculous distance seemed to mean that we should have the divine right to win the game… unfortunately I was to be sorely disappointed. My timing was such that I think there was a period of several years when I didn’t see City win a game ‘live’. God, I was the guy who wanted Brian Clough as manager and we got Nigel Clough as player! Nevertheless, I carried on regardless and have now ended up living and working in Barcelona.

Now at the ripe old age of 27 I do have great memories of City… not of trophies and titles… not in my supporting lifetime… but of individual games and goals. Going to the league game against Ipswich on a Saturday where City put in a dismal performance to lose 1-0 and then travelling on the next day to Manchester for the Paul Lake testimonial, where the team put in far more effort against United (especially Michael Brown!) to get a typical testimonial 2-2 draw; attending the final game of the season against Reading, coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and then hooting wildly at the Reading team coach as we followed it back down the motorway afterwards. Going to Swindon to see City win 3-1 from 1-0 down with a posse of ten ‘new’ City supporters that I had converted, and then going to Reading the following midweek and being oh so grateful my friends had not come to this game as we collapsed 3-0 in what was probably one of the direst performances ever seen.

Barcelona this year has been a great experience for me, but of all the cities in all the world why did United and their fans have to follow me here after only four months? Needless to say, there was a different atmosphere come the following weekend when Barcelona was shaken by the sound of I and my girlfriend celebrating City’s win in the same pub where I had been heartbroken by Sheringham and Solskjaer only a few days before.

There are many more games I could mention that have special memories for me, but I’ve taken up enough space already. Brightwell’s equaliser against United at Old Trafford will always hold a special place in my heart. The good memories are probably outweighed by many more bad ones, and I used to envy those who were able to say they were old enough to have seen cup victories, league title successes and European glories. But now, under Joe Royle, I have a funny feeling that we might just have a chance of doing something major whilst I’m alive. Peter Reid gave me a similar feeling, but now I sense that just for once we have someone at the helm who actually has half a clue what they are doing. It’s such a strange feeling that I’m trying hard to cope with it.

I used to receive MCIVTA when I lived in Windsor and it was a great supplement to all the other news sources for information. Now I live abroad I can see how it is almost a lifeline for many City fans. I don’t know if City fans living in Britain will understand it, but when you have the non-existent efforts of the BBC World Service to bring you any news, you rely on organs like MCIVTA to give you the information you need to save hours and days of nerve wracking worries of what’s going on. I can only imagine how good MCIVTA is for those who live even further afield.

So, I would like to end this lengthy posting by saying thank you to all contributors to MCIVTA, and also to those who run it. I might have two of my closest relatives who have come out of the closet to support United, but I wouldn’t want to support any other team than City. I now live in hope of the day that Barcelona might entertain City at the Nou Camp in the Champions League, and with Joe and Willie at the helm I get the feeling that that might not be such a fantasy as many non-City supporters would think.

City Til I Die Mark Stangroom (


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscription: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #533